More than three weeks have passed since the Rio Olympics, and it has now emerged that Leander Paes was not happy with the team selection in the mixed doubles competition for India. In the build-up to the Rio Olympics, Leander Paes looked in ominous form, winning three mixed doubles title in 2015 and one in 2016.
The experienced tennis player, who was ignored at the expense of higher-ranked doubles player Rohan Bopanna to partner Sania Mirza in Rio, believes that the right team was not sent for the Games.
Rohan Bopanna and Paes partnered in the men's doubles, but they suffered a shock exit in the first round, while the mixed doubles team of Sania and Bopanna failed in the final hurdle to win bronze. Despite the mixed team coming close, Paes cannot understand how he was ignored after amazing performances in the Grand Slam.
"I can very clearly say that in this Olympics and last Olympics we didn't put the best team forward. This Olympics the mixed doubles was a great opportunity. What more does a man need to do than win four Grand Slams in 14 months. There were no more tournaments to win, I could not create anymore tournaments," Press Trust of India quoted Paes as saying.
Paes was once again on show for India in the Davis Cup against Spain in the mixed doubles competition on Saturday, but they lost. India failed to win the first three matches (two singles and one doubles),and Spain took an unassailable 3-0 lead. Paes was originally scheduled to partner Rohan Bopanna, who was later replaced by Saketh Myneni after the Karnataka man withdrew due to injury.
Paes and Myneni played some good tennis and troubled the Spaniards in the first set, but the pairing of Rafael Nadal and Marc Lopez came back strongly to win 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4, 6-4. However, Paes had some good words to say for Myneni.
"I and Saketh played for the first time together. I am impressed by his serve and return. I think he is a natural hard court player. I think he is a really good leader. In India, most guys want to follow and having played with 107 players, I kind of know his personality is not so bad," Paes said.
"He gets out there, and even in tough situations he would say 'Lee crack your return'. I like that someone is working with the perspective of winning. I enjoyed playing and if we can have 4-5 matches together we will do really well to build a partnership here."